Traditional Overnight Camp
The memories! The lifelong friends! Attending a traditional overnight camp is filled with fun and variety. Most traditional camps have tons of programs and activities for every interest from lacrosse and baseball to ceramics, rock climbing, water skiing, ropes to radio. If you are looking for a specific sport - consider a Specialty Sports Camp. At a traditional overnight camp, most activities tend to be centered around a lake, fields, and campfires. Enjoying the outdoors is pretty important, although all camps have some indoor activities - especially for rainy days.
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Consider the fun of living for weeks with other kids your age, doing the things YOU want to do, without any parents around - how fun is that? While athletics are a big part of many camps, the competition is often kept to a minimum. Most camps keep their competition to inter-camp rivalries - the red cabins vs. the orange; the ravens vs. the eagles... It's all in fun.
Consider if you want an ALL BOYS camp, ALL GIRLS, or Co-ed. There are lots of reasons to chose either. Single sex camps alleviate the pressure of worrying about what you look like, and what the other sex is thinking about you. They build confidence in who you are, not what others think of you.
Co-ed camps generally say they are more about real-world relationships (if camp can even be called real world!). Guys can see girls as leaders and athletes; girls can see the softer side of boys at times. Role models are of both genders, and healthy friendships with both sexes are encouraged - without the encumbrances of romance. Either choice definitely has its benefits!
There are also many religious camps. These are obviously a great place to meet other kids who share your faith, and are a place to feel comfortable practicing one's own faith. They generally have the same exciting activities as other camps, and often have optional or required religious services and prayer times. Many Jewish camps offer a couple hours of tutoring per week for those with upcoming Bar / Bat Mitzvas.
Consider how long to attend camp. Historically, camps were a big chunk of summer - about 7 weeks long. Many have shorter sessions now, but most camps agree that 3 weeks is a good amount of time to get acclimated, make very close friends, and enjoy all the aspects that a camp has to offer. Most camps also have "Rookie" programs for first-timers - generally about a week, but sometimes as short as 4 days. As a teen, you'll run into kids who have attended the same camp since they were 7 or 8 years old. Don't be intimidated! Kids start camp at all ages and are included pretty quickly - it's part of camp philosophy to make everyone new feel comfortable.
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